After a season of disappointment, the New York Giants were ready to move on from head coach Tom Coughlin. Of course, with a coach that has been as successful as he has with the team, they did not want to fire him. But a choice had to be made and there were thoughts that he would be fired if he did not resign as coach of the Giants. Well, the Giants organization got their way when Coughlin call it quits in New York, despite him wanting to do so. And so began the search for the next head coach of the New York Giants. There were plenty of names mentioned for this job from former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone to newly named Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson. But in the end, the new head coach of the Giants was sitting right up under their noses. It is being reported by many media outlets that Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has been named the new head coach of the team. And it is also being reported that his offensive coordinator could be none other than former Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin (both coached together in Green Bay). So with McAdoo moving to the head coaching position, what does that mean for the New York Giants going forward?
One positive about McAdoo being the head coach is he is not brand new to the team. When McAdoo first arrived in New York as offensive coordinator two years ago, he was put in charge of revamping the offense. At first, it was a tough transition for veteran quarterback Eli Manning. He was throwing interceptions and the offense just looked disjointed. As the season went on, the Giants offense got better and better though. Some of that has to do with the health of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, who was fighting a hamstring issue to start his rookie campaign. But with McAdoo there, Eli grew into a comfort zone of getting rid of the ball quicker. He also made Eli a more efficient passer. With McAdoo staying on as head coach, Eli will continue his growth in the same system he has had the last two seasons. And with that staying the same, look for the rest of the offense to continue to grow with Eli. If they were to have changed the offense again, that could have set back the progress of the team and also the offense. The way the Giants are constructed currently, the offense will be the side of the ball that leads them to victories. And by keeping that steady, that alleviates some stress on the team as a whole.
McAdoo is a solid offensive coach and there is no doubt he will do the best he can as a head coach. But the fact remains that the Giants hired a guy that has never been a head coach in the NFL. Coughlin was solid as a head coach and he had his ups and downs just like any other coach. He was a veteran of the coaching game and knew how to get teams out of ruts when they were struggling. With McAdoo there, the pressure will be something that he hasn’t ever experienced before as a head coach. How does he react to that pressure-cooker as a first-time head coach should things not get off to a good start? That will be something to pay close attention to with this hiring. We all know the New York media can chew you up and spit you out with relative ease. And if he is to stumble, they would definitely kick it into high gear. Having a former NFL head coach in Joe Philbin on staff will be huge because he will have valuable insight on how to maneuver the issues that can come about during the season.
One side of the ball that will be watched a lot next year will be the defense. McAdoo reportedly decided to keep defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo going into next season. Spagnolo was good in his first stint as defensive coordinator with the Giants. His NASCAR pass rush helped the Giants win the Super Bowl against the Patriots in his first season as defensive coordinator there. But things have changed since the first stint as defensive coordinator of the Giants back in 2007 and 2008. This Giants brought Spagnolo back this past season to commandeer their defense and it was not a good look for them. Plenty of that blame could be thrown at two places. Injuries occurred everywhere and they were playing with a bunch of backups, especially in the secondary and at linebacker. And also Jerry Reese deserves some of the blame because he did not necessarily stock the team with depth defensively. But all in all, the defense still should not have been as bad as they were. It bears watching what the Giants do to address the depth on the defensive side of the ball and what Spagnolo does to get this defense better. This decision could potentially haunt Ben McAdoo as a head coach if it does not work out. But Spagnolo has had past success there in New York and has earned another shot at it considering the circumstances.
McAdoo has been given the keys to a solid offensive core and a defense that needs retooling. From here what he does with it is up to him. It will be interesting to see what ideas he implements to make this team better. But he has been given an opportunity to prove himself. And if this does not work, then general manager Jerry Reese and McAdoo’s jobs could be gone.